Archive for the Wine & Food Category

Bordeaux Wine Tour, Anyone?

Posted in Wine & Food on September 19, 2020 by darmyers
Official Announcement

I have exciting news. In April, 2022, I will be joining forces with Atlantic Tours and AMA Waterways to participate in a river cruise called ‘A Taste of Bordeaux’. I met the owner of Atlantic Tours, Richard Arnold, during several wine tastings I did in 2019. We hit it off and talked about the possibility of working together on a wine related trip. Well we currently have 2 we are working on. 2021 to the Niagara region of Canada, and 2022 to Bordeaux France.

Richard & Sandra
Richard has a tremendous amount of experience doing first class tours.

For any wine lover, Bordeaux France is the capital of great wine. Filled with Chateaus and vineyards, this is going to be an epic adventure in the land of food and wine. (2 of my favorite things in the world.) Travelling the Garonne & Dordogne rivers in first class style, this is a dream trip for any wine lover. I’ll have more details later, but right now we are planned for April of 2022. And in case you didn’t know, Bordeaux is just not for the red wine lover, Bordeaux produces some amazing white wines as well. Bordeaux white is mostly blended wines and tends to consist of 3 grapes, Semillion, Sauvignon Blanc and Muscadelle. Bordeaux white can be light and fruity (Sauvignon Blanc heavy) or rich and creamy (Semillion heavy). It is also home to some of the most expensive wines in the world.

2005 Chateau D’yquem

Like this 2005 Chateau D’yquem priced at $1112.00

Chateau Margeaux

Or this Chateaux Margeaux priced at a cool $1448.00. But you can enjoy good wine from Bordeaux without having to take out a second mortgage. So….Let’s talk some food & wine.

Puyfromage White

Take this Chateau Puyfromage White Bordeaux for example. It is a blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillion and it is tropical, light and fruity, and every wine tasting I’ve ever bought it to, it’s a hit. It’s only $22 a bottle, it’s medium-bodied, with some acidity from the Sauvignon Blanc and very food friendly. Chateau Puyfromage also comes in a red blend, with 60% of the wine being Merlot and the other 40% being comprised of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. So a really good meaty red at about the same price point.

Rayell holding a Sauternes
Chateau Coutet Sauternes

One of my favorite white wines to come out of Bordeaux is Sauternes. I know many people say they don’t like sweet wines, but if you have a dessert wine, in a small sherry glass, and have it as a dessert, it can be heavenly. Sauternes comes from the Barsac region of Bordeaux and the grapes are Sauvignon Blanc, Semillion and Muscadelle. Sauternes takes these 3 grapes and applies a process called Botrytis Cinerea, or more commonly known as noble rot.  This causes the grapes to become partially raisined, resulting in concentrated and distinctively flavored wines. These wines are delicious dessert wines, served chilled, and those flavors of honey and apricot make for one of my favorite desserts.

New pork chop marinade
Bobby Flay’s homemade honey mustard sauce

I would really like to tell you about my new food discovery. I made Bobby Flay’s homemade honey mustard sauce and used it on grilled pork chops. Here’s one change I have made to the recipe. (Sorry Bobby) It calls for equal parts grainy mustard and Dijon mustard. I started cutting the grainy mustard in half. If I used 1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard, I used 1/2 a tablespoon of the grainy. I feel the grainy mustard can overpower the sauce. Here’s the grainy mustard I used.

Maille Mustard

Even on the website, it says it packs a powerful punch. And it does. So I’m using half. Then I added honey, salt & pepper. Delicious on pork.

Now, for my wine of the week… Believe me, this one is very affordable

I hope all my readers have someone in their life that looks at them like I look at this wine. LOL. I love a Ripasso, regular readers of my blog will know that. It’s Valpolicella wine poured over the skins and must of Amarone, while they are still warm. It takes on those beautiful Amarone flavors without taking on the heaviness of an Amarone. This is probably my favorite Italian wine. And last night was my first time trying this one by Folinari. It is a medium-bodied wine full of flavor, beautiful hints of balsamic, cherry and mocha spice. I did ribs on the grill, and it was amazing.

Have a wonderful week everyone. Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

Wining For A Long Weekend

Posted in Wine & Food on September 5, 2020 by darmyers
Me last night!

I wasn’t just pining for a long weekend, I was wining for the long weekend. The Labor Day weekend, is the last official weekend of Summer for most people. For me, (don’t hate me) it’s ‘Bye Bye Summer – Hello Fall’. I am all about cooler temperatures, the pretty colours on the trees, and the availability of local fresh fruits and vegetables. I’m taking some holidays this coming week, my Mom, Sister, Brother-in-Law & Nephew are all coming for a visit this week, as we get Riley settled into SFX University in Antigonish, NS. I know I’ve been sharing some recipes lately, just wait until I start cooking for this handsome growing guy!

Riley at his High School Graduation
Me saying goodbye to Riley at the airport after 2 weeks in Barbados

This kid can eat, trust me. I’ll be cooking up a storm once he starts University here. They are all coming Wednesday for a visit and shopping, and then next Saturday morning we are off to Antigonish to set up his dorm room. There probably won’t be a wine blog next Saturday, but I’ll have lots to share in 2 weeks time. I’m also going to be doing a BIG travel announcement in 2022 for a wine tour you are not going to want to miss. Oui, Oui. That’s yes in French. A little hint of something special to come.

Let’s talk some wine…. and food!!

A great chicken marinade was discovered this week

Our Summer weather continued this past week, so since there was a lot of sunshine, I grilled one or two evenings. I have come up with the a fantastic chicken marinade. Start with olive oil, add a grainy mustard, or any mustard you have on hand, salt, pepper, a splash of lemon juice, splash of Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, and the most important ingredient, brown sugar. Do you know why? I’ve discovered this week if you are grilling chicken or pork, brown sugar will be the secret to carmelization and a nice char on the outside. And a nice char on the outside will keep everything tender and juicy on the inside. It was delicious. I marinated it for about 4 hours. Overnight would be best. So what wine goes with this delicious grilled chicken? Red or white, pick your choice.

Saints & Sinners Pinot Grigio

This Saints & Sinners Pinot Grigio is from Canada, and is priced under $11 a bottle. Who doesn’t love a great deal over a long weekend. It’s not as dry as most Italian Pinot Grigio’s, it’s 75% Pinot Grigio, and 25% other fruit including Gewürztraminer, so expect a little sweeter Pinot Grigio. Most Pinot Grigio wines are a 1 on the sweetness level (the lowest), this one is a 2. If you love red with your chicken, try this wine.

Smoking Loon Old Vine Zinfandel

This is the wine I enjoyed with it, and I’ll be heading out to buy more. This wine is $2 off right now in Nova Scotia, so it’s under $15 a bottle. Even on their website, the one and only food they have listed to try it with, is BBQ grilled chicken. A match made in heaven. Old vine is a symbol of quality in American wine. In France you see words like Grand Cru, in Italy it’s Superiore or Riserva, and in California it tends to be Old Vine, especially when talking about Zinfandel. Old vines make better wine, it’s as simple as that. At $14.48 a bottle right now, don’t make the same mistake I did, pick up more than one!!

Pork tenderloin

I also grilled a small pork tenderloin this week, and it came out great, after resting for 10 minutes in Aluminum foil. Resting your meat is very important when grilling, it lets the juices settle. It’s especially important in pork tenderloin, because you don’t want a dry pork tenderloin. I used brown sugar as the base of this marinade as well, because I just love the char it provides on the outside and it stays juicy on the inside.

And now for my wine of the week…

A 90 Point wine for $12.99

Run, don’t walk, if this wine is on sale at your liquor store, like it is mine. This wine is just $12.99 a bottle right now, while it’s available, and yes, that is a 90-Point designation you see on the label. World famous wine critic James Suckling gave this Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon 90 Points, and friends, right now this wine is less than $13 a bottle. This full-bodied beauty is from the Central Valley in Chile and is the #1 seller for Caillero del Diablo. Medium to full-bodied and not overly oaked, this Cabernet Sauvignon is the perfect wine for a long weekend grill-fest. Enjoy.

I need this t-shirt

To all my readers, thank you so much for joining me for another week. If I don’t touch base next week, I’ll see you in 2 weeks time.

Stay safe and take care

Darlene

National Red Wine Day

Posted in Wine & Food on August 29, 2020 by darmyers
840 WHAS - Happy National Red Wine Day! 🍷 ACT FAST!... | Facebook
National Red Wine Day

Yesterday, August 28th was National Red Wine Day, and if you were listening to one of our local Radio Station’s, 96-5 The Breeze, the Morning Show featured an interview with me from a couple of years back, talking about some of my favorite reds. So here’s this weeks wine blog, let’s talk some red wine… and of course some food.

Great evening for a BBQ

I do really good ribs

Yesterday evening was a beautiful evening for a barbecue, and I have friends in the building who don’t have a barbeque but they told me they were craving a feed of ribs. So I texted her and said “I’ll do a feed of ribs and bring them down”. It takes me roughly five hours to do my ribs, I slow cook them in a 250-degree oven for 3 1/2 hours in the marinade, and then finish them on the grill with a sweet and sticky barbeque sauce. They were fall off the bone delicious. And I had a brand new wine while I was cooking, and enjoying the feast.

Paso Creek 2015 Merlot

OMG, this wine was awesome! I loved the slogan on the bottom, “bold character derived from stubborn patience”. Paso Robles is located halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco, and is emerging as a top quality wine region, not only in California but worldwide. This is no wimpy Merlot, this is bold and flavourful without being overpowered by oak. I loved it, and I thought it was a great wine for $23.
So, one of the issues I had this pandemic, as regular readers will know, I was doing a lot of cooking, and a lot of testing new recipes. And I have the Covid curves to prove it LOL. Two weeks ago, I decided to do something about it, and I’ve been eating better for most of the week and even getting out and exercising. Virtual High-5 👏! It’s not easy.

I’m trying to eat healthier

I made this grilled chicken salad, with mandarin oranges, freshly grated Parmesan (because every meal deserves some joy), and I made my own salad dressing. Easy, and delicious. Olive oil, balsamic vinegar, pinches of garlic, black pepper, Dijon mustard and brown sugar. This was lunch, so no wine for me. If it was dinner, here’s a great wine for that salad.

Caliterra Tributo Chardonnay

You could do a nice crisp Pinot Grigio, or even Prosecco, but the grilled chicken in this salad would also allow for a nice Chardonnay. The Caliterra Chardonnay is from Chile, not overly oaked, delicious apple flavours and priced under $18. It’s one of my favorite Chardonnay wines.

And now for my wine of the week….

Gauchezco Reserve Cabernet Franc

It’s been only the past year or two, that I’ve been discovering Cabernet Franc on its own. Previously, it was more known to me as the third grape in a Bordeaux blend. There are several winemakers making Cabernet Franc the star. In a recent 2020 special report on wine from Argentina, this wine was given 91 Points. It’s very good, it’s smooth and has lovely pepper notes. Another great wine for a BBQ. This wine is a Reserve and is priced just under $23.

Your chuckle for today

So I would like to take a moment in closing to tell you about a wine tour I am going to be involved in for next year. June 19th, 2021 (Fingers crossed) my friend Richard, who owns Atlantic Tours, will be bringing a group to the Niagara Wine Region and I’m coming to host the wine tours. There will also be a stop in old Quebec City. I can’t wait. Check out all the upcoming tours at http://www.atlantictours.com. Richard and his staff have been doing worry-free tours for many years. Mark your calendar for this fabulous wine tour as we experience some great wine and take in the stunning views of Niagara Falls. I’ll tell you more about it soon. Hope you can join us.

Niagara Falls, Ontario - Wikipedia
Niagara Falls

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

Grape Balls of Fire

Posted in Wine & Food on August 22, 2020 by darmyers
Spicy Food Wine Pairing Tips – Kwaf | The Best of Ontario Wine
Spicy Food & Wine can be great together

As my regular readers know, most Saturday mornings I sit with a great cup of coffee and write a wine blog. Since the pandemic started, I’ve started introducing some of my favorite recipes. Although I’ve always loved to cook, I really haven’t introduced recipes and my attempts at new recipes until recently. I’m getting lots of positive feedback, and I really appreciate all the comments. I mean what goes better with food than wine, except for great friends. I don’t know if you guessed it from the title this week, but we are talking spice this week, because my brand new adventure in cooking was making my first homemade salsa.

My 1st homemade salsa

My first attempt, even though I felt I used less jalapeno, still had some kick to it. It was awesome on nachos. The chips and cheese tend to curb some of the spiciness. I loved it, and will be regularly making it because it was so easy!

My late night Nachos

I always thought you had to chop up your tomatoes. No!! This recipe calls for canned diced tomatoes. I used the ones with garlic and olive oil. And for my first attempt, I used 1/2 a tin.

Aylmer® Accents® Garlic & Olive Oil Petite Cut Stewed Tomatoes ...
All the hard work is done

Here’s what I did:

1/2 a Jalapeno, with most of the seeds taken out. (that’s where all the heat is)

1/2 teaspoon of minced garlic

1/4 cup of cilantro

The juice of 1/2 a lime

1/4 teaspoon salt (& I added some pepper)

Tip of a teaspoon of sugar. (This is optional)

I put it in my mini-food processor. I use mine so much I keep it on the counter at all times.

Mini Food Processor

A few pulses, and fresh salsa, with no preservatives, will last for a week in a sealed container. It took 5 minutes.

Some people in the food and wine beverage industry think the best thing to go with spicy food would be a nice cold beer. you’re not wrong, but for my wine loving friends, I love wine with spicy food. We’re going to talk about some spicy food, and we’re going to talk to some wine.

A selection of Nova Scotia Tidal Bay Wines

One of my favourite wines to have is one of the many unique Tidal Bay wines offered by wineries here in Nova Scotia. Tidal Bay is an appellation blend Created by the wineries in Nova Scotia, as well as the Wine Association of Nova Scotia. Initially released in 2012, these wineries have to make a title page from 100% Nova Scotia growing grapes in a strict if standards that make for some beautifully made wine. I don’t have a favorite, but I will tell you, I’ve never had a bad one.

My spicy wines

My spicy wings, which I do in my air fryer, the sauce is simple. 1 part Frank’s Hot Sauce, 1/2 part maple syrup and 1/4 cup BBQ sauce. Delicious

I think my all-time favourite wine to have with spicy food is an icy cold Riesling. I don’t like full on sweet Riesling, but I do like a tinge of sweetness in my Riesling to take the edge off that spicy food.

Kung Fu Girl Riesling U.S.A.

I love this Kung Fu Girl Riesling from Washington State in the U.S.A. This is a dry Riesling with just a hint of sweetness. The wine was inspired by the winemaker enjoying Chinese food one evening, watching a movie. So he created Kung Fu Girl, and as he puts it ‘it’s been kicking ass ever since’. And it’s priced under $20 a bottle. Win-Win!

And now my Wine of the Week

The Cleaver

I can drink red with spicy food, and my favorite red grape to do that is Zinfandel. The Cleaver blend is 74% Zinfandel, 15% Syrah & 11% Petite Sirah. This is a super interesting red blend that not only goes with spicy food, you should try it with anything on the BBQ. The label says ‘It’s a Must for Meat’. It’s a $30 bottle of wine and worth every sip.

Stay safe

Well that’s it for me for this week. Till next week, Cheers

Darlene

Heat Wave Favorites

Posted in Wine & Food on August 1, 2020 by darmyers
Wine Tip of the Day

We are in the middle of a heat wave here in Halifax, where the humidex actually hit 40-degrees one day last week. I’m not a fan of hot humid weather, I’m counting down the days until Autumn. Sorry Summer lovers, I’m into cooler temperatures, pretty leaves, comfort food and being able to enjoy a glass of wine at a decent temperature. However, there are some wine varieties that make this heat wave more bearable. Let’s talk some wine. And some food!

Learning how to make pizza dough from scratch

Do you know what I did last Saturday night? A group of friends got together and we learned how to make pizza from scratch, including the pizza dough. Taught by Fred, pictured with me, and photo-bombed by Dave, the best sous chef in the world, together we made 3 hearty pizzas and 1 dessert pizza. They featured prosciutto, tomatoes, fresh basil, mozzarella, pepperoni, balsamic glazes, just to name a few ingredients. I mean, we went all out!

Pondsview Pinot Grigio

Fred’s wife, my good friend Arla, bought a Canadian Pinot Grigio to the party, which I had the opportunity to try. It was a Pinot Grigio from Canadian Winery Pondsview, located in the Niagara region. I am planning a trip with Richard Arnold and Atlantic Tours in June of 2021 to the Niagara Wine region, so it was great to try one I had never had before. This was a delicious light and crisp Pinot Grigio with lovely citrus flavors. Perfect for a hot Summer evening, served nice and cold.

Fresh Basil

Did I mention there were fresh herbs. My friend Joan grew all the herbs we used last Saturday night in making the pizza. However, this pandemic has inspired me to branch out and try a few new things. My basil is coming along nicely and this past week I added parsley to my list of herbs I’m trying to grow. Wish me luck, there are no green thumbs on either of my hand. Another thing I’ve discovered are puzzles. This was #8 for me since the pandemic started.

My latest puzzle
The Puzzle that started it all
Much more fun with a glass of wine

And last but not least, I have continued my love of cooking and watching cooking shows on the Food Network. This past week has been Grilling Week on the Food Network, so I’ve been recording a lot of the shows. One of the shows I recorded was the Grill Master Napa. This was recorded at Beringer Wine Estate in the Napa Valley and featured 16 grilling chefs competing for $50,000. When they would finish, all the chefs would toast with a glass of red wine. And what a thrill it was to go to my friend Angie’s place, and she had the wine there.

Beringer Founder’s Estate Cabernet

The Beringer Founder’s Estate Cabernet Sauvignon is a wine I would definitely have again. Made with grapes grown in Lodi California, as well as the California Delta, these two regions have ideal climates for ripening Cabernet Sauvignon. So you get a juicy red wine with lots of body that is a perfect compliment to any grill master. I loved it, and it’s only $20 a bottle here. If there was a perfect Summer time red, this would be it.

I love good food, great friends and wonderful get-togethers. It’s a long weekend for many provinces here in Canada, I hope you enjoy it safely.

Till next week, Cheers

Darlene